Monday, June 15, 2015

Spokane, Children of the Sun...

The indigenous people of the area, the Spokanes, date back about 13,000 years. They lived near Spokane Falls in what is now downtown Spokane hunting the abundant wild game, fishing for salmon and gathered plants, roots and berries in the nearby western foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

The European explorers and fur traders started showing up in 1810 and the first settlers J.J. Downing and S.R. Scranton established a claim here in 1871. The area really started growing when the Northern Pacific Railway reached Spokane in 1891 and the population rose to almost 37,000 by 1900.

My maternal grandfather, Harvey Larson, 24 at the time, came to the area in 1901 from Michigan to follow his 18 year old bride to be, Edna Doyne. Her family moved here in 1898. I remember our family trips from Seattle to Spokane as a kid in the late 50’s and early 60’s, most memorably those by train.

In the late 70’s I’d come to Spokane to hangout at the Gonzaga music department. I worked local restaurants by day (mainly because you could eat) and by night I played the wonderful grand pianos and often composed into the wee hours of the morning.

Funny all these years later I’m back in town to teach social media to local real estate professionals. 

The median age of a real estate broker is currently 56 and many here and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest are older. Yet, the median age of a first time homebuyer is now 32 and represent about 38% of purchases in 2014. This segment of the market will to grow in 2015. I like to point out that the average age of an online gamer is 32 years old. It lightens up the conversation and sheds a little light on the audience they’re trying to reach.

Many show up to class in hopes of learning better ways to connect with millennials and much of what I talk about is, “Well... Where are they?” Market to the room that’s full, not empty. Most of them are now on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter. A few have a blog and some follow blogs if the topic is of interest.

I enjoy a few hours on Friday afternoon on West Main Ave near Division which is now part of a new and expanding University District. The old brick buildings and warehouses are being transformed into wonderful collaborative spaces for local small businesses.

I had several great conversations with owners and employees of these local shops, restaurants, brew pubs, and art galleries. You immediately pick up on the energy of this vibrant and repurposed area of town. I wish them all every success. It’s so encouraging to experience these small business entrepreneurs making it happen, doing what they love to do, and contributing to the community. Hopefully, more of them will soon be able to realize another dream, a home of their own.

It’s true, the sun does shine more here in the inland empire than it does in Seattle. I enjoy the scale of Spokane and life here. Have a great 2015 Spokaloo, as mom would affectionately say. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

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